Top 10 Technology Trends to Help Fight the COVID-19 Crisis
By: Antonia Ava
In prehistoric times, when a tidal wave of an epidemic hit the civilization there wasn't much they could do. Of course, efforts were made according to that time's medications and discoveries but none as fast as of the 21st century.
Or so we thought.
When nature strikes humanity with its worse, thunder strikes, volcanoes rise and sometimes pandemics happen. This year started badly with the novel coronavirus. Since everything is under lockdown or quarantine there's nothing much left to do.
We do still have one ace in our pocket that can make us survive through unprecedented times i.e. technology. Technology has played a vital role in fast-forwarding innovations and creative ideas. Businesses are still operating remotely, work from home is on the rise and the freelance market is taking a big U-turn for the first time.
Would it have been possible without technology? Not at all, which brings us to new ideas and ways we can make it through COVID-19.
From traditional shopping experience to virtual stores, a new experience is on the horizon, thanks to technology. When SARS broke out in 2002 in China, online market places thrived under the conditions. In current times, a similar condition is on the run, which made online shopping an happy hour experience.
People from all over the world are now ordering online, filling their carts but how will the products be delivered?
In the fast-moving consumer goods industry, the robotic logistic system is trying to take over. It means robots can do the delivery instead of a delivery man. These contactless deliveries, especially in China, are like turning a new leaf over and robot deliveries will become more prominent in reducing labor service.
The drawback of carrying cash is it may get contaminated with the virus. Even if you are going to buy your groceries or medicines, what good wearing a face mask will do if the cash in return is given to you as a carrier? South Korea took the chance and burnt their state banks' cash.
Digital payments have been in the game for a long while now; mobile apps are ever so helpful in this regard for customers to make digital transactions. You do not have to leave the safety of your home either. This also enables you to make online payments and thus is the fastest way to transfer funds nowadays too. So if you have a good internet source, you can easily make cashless transactions anytime you want.
Work from home
Remote work is at the peak, employees are asked to work from home. This established an understanding of using messenger apps and other technologies including Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).
To conduct virtual meetings, cloud technology, and work collaboration tools, etc. allows a person to communicate via video calls by virtually disguising the background to eliminate the risk of home privacy.
Work from the home strategy is logical, to prevent the spread of disease in the work environment, it also saves commute time and is more flexible than the normal circumstances. Although it does have its side of challenges like information security could be breached, or internet errors, technical issues with the work app, and so on. Due to a lack of work-life balance, employees may suffer through anxiety and stress that may also affect the professional efficiency.
If you are a virtual student, you must be familiar with e-learning. Distant learning became a real trend in 2010 and so onwards various sectors moved towards e-learning programs. Because of the development of e-commerce, businesses were getting familiar, and users increased daily.
To help people understand, certain course providers had to acquire e-learning translation services as well to accommodate the learners and be able to reach a far market. As of now, universities and schools have taken the necessary measure and providing online educational courses for students all over the world.
More than 191 countries announced the eLearning to take place during quarantine to continue the course studies and the use of technology is ever immense.
Telehealth proves to be an effective strategy to contain the virus outspread with preliminary care. More like a working app with certain quality features, Chatbots can diagnose the symptoms of a patient right away. This way you do not have to go to a hospital and if you are tested positive (based on the symptoms) you can self-isolate yourself.
Insurance will also cover any cost if the service is highly billed in your region. It does require a good internet connection to operate and a distinct level of tech literacy to operate it as well. The medical and health industry is also ensuring bilingual customers by providing medical translation services as well to better interpret their symptoms and to convey the right option.
Netflix is one of the most streaming sites today. Even its paid subscriptions cost more than fuel (oil prices dropped last month). Humans are rather more creative online and find innovative ways to entertain themselves.
Apps like Tik Tok and Snapchat are primarily used for making videos. Moreover, virtual tours are becoming a trend for museum tours or international heritage sites, which means you do not have to step outside. Gaming traffic also increased during quarantine time which boosted the sales of the gaming industry as well.
Online traffic on YouTube is ever-increasing and various DIYs and other videos are mostly becoming popular keeping the users entertained.
Global supply chain
Factories shut down due to quarantine affecting the supply chain. Exporting items became crucial, and companies had to rely on paper-based records due to the lack of any flexibility and diversity in the supply chain.
Due to the export ban by some countries, companies are now focused on indicating a revolution in technology that will help maintain the supply chain, enhance the security of data, and prolong data sharing as well.
To come off the FMCG crisis, a fast initiative was taken with pre-export deliveries and shipments to the marketplace.
To overcome the loss of exports and trying to maintain a relative supply chain in demand, 3D printing is a far more flexible production to be taken into account. These printers can be used to design and print various products and or parts of machinery as well. It doesn't require any detailed procurement process which means it takes a shorter time and is an effective method.
It can raise intellectual property issues with the manufacturer and involve legal terms and patents. Production of certain items is hard to meet the regular standard such as manufacturing of substitute face masks in China during the shortage of N95 respirator.
Robots and drones
Avoiding human interactions is compulsory. But some businesses are more labor-oriented than others like retail, food, manufacturing, and logistics. To out rule the instability in these industries, companies are more open to the ideas of using robots and drones for the very purpose.
Imagine a drone is delivering a takeaway order or a short grocery list from a particular store. Robots have even been used to disinfect certain areas while drones also were recorded to walk dogs! It is said that robots might take over the manual job sometime in the future but it is debatable. While the robots may cover some services, new job policies are in action for the workforce.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
From 3G to 4G the world of networks fast forward to a high, reliable, and affordable internet, now 5G is on the rollout. Although it is not yet available in some countries, adaptability with compatible devices will help to boost the internet signals and the network will be stronger.
The latest technology will become the reason for online communication and more people will b able to work from home and learn via e-learning courses. But the more we rely on technology the more jobless people will become in the future. As pandemic accelerates so does digitization. It is making the workforce vulnerable across the world.
We may be coming with various solutions but do these solutions have positive consequences in the long run? As a community, are we ready to give away the freedom of manual work and surrender to technology? Although these technological trends are handy for now how far can we rely on them as each technology has its limitations as well?